Page 1

Sanford Health Foundation Bismarck Winter 2013

Generational Giving Builders of Excellence Endowment Campaign resonates across generations

Donors help Sanford secure the latest technology for

Breast Imaging Dr. Ron and Joyce Tello Article on pg. 2

Dr. Christina Tello-Skjerseth and Brent Skjerseth

Generational Giving The Tello family, of Bismarck, has faced the heartache of watching four loved ones deal with breast cancer. Now, through gifts to the Builders of Excellence Endowment Campaign, that cross two generations, they hope to make a difference for other families in the future. Dr. Ron and Joyce Tello both lost their mothers to the disease. Barbara Saba, Joyce’s mother, was

diagnosed in 1977 and elected to use experimental treatments during her 10-year battle. “She fought it and appreciated the latest medical technology for that time,” Joyce said. Bertha Tello, Dr. Tello’s mother, had a more difficult experience. After her diagnosis six years ago at the age of 81, she struggled with chemotherapy and died one year later.

Joyce’s brother, Duane Saba, dealt with breast cancer, too, after it metastasized from his colon, lungs and eventually his brain. “I’ve never seen anyone fight as hard as he did,” Joyce said. The most recent family member diagnosed was Penny Skjerseth, the mother of Dr. Tello’s sonin-law, Brent Skjerseth. She is currently in remission.

“Almost everyone knows someone or is related to someone who has had breast cancer,” said Dr. Christina Tello-Skjerseth, Dr. Tello’s daughter. “I don’t think there’s enough awareness as far as how to detect it. I think educating people on how simple it is to get your mammogram and how important these technologies are to our community would be impactful.”

I’ve never seen anyone fight as hard as he did. Their family experiences with the disease prompted both couples to establish named endowments through the Sanford Health Foundation in Bismarck to provide on-going, permanent support for breast cancer patients at Sanford Bismarck. Dr. Ron and Joyce Tello pledged $100,000 to create the Dr. Ronald and Joyce Tello Endowment for Sanford’s Breast Cancer Program at the Bismarck Cancer Center in memory of their mothers. Dr. Tello-Skjerseth and Brent Skjerseth dedicated $50,000 to establish the Dr. Christina Tello and Brent Skjerseth Endowment for Sanford Radiology Breast Imaging. “The fund will continue to grow. It will not disappear. It will be there forever,” Dr. Tello said.

In addition to demonstrating their commitment to breast cancer, the families took advantage of the Sanford Health Foundation’s historic Builders of Excellence Endowment Campaign, a $20 million matching gifts campaign designed to double donors’ investments. “After hearing what the campaign entailed, we thought it would be better to make an everlasting impact instead of a one-time gift,” Dr. Tello-Skjerseth said. Brent agreed. “This is a great opportunity with the matching program,” he said. “The time to do it is right now, especially if people have the means to do so.” In addition, both couples also benefited from the North Dakota charitable income tax credit. This special incentive, for donors to charitable endowments in the state, provides a tax credit of 40 percent of the charitable deduction allowed by the IRS.

“It’s something we were brought up with,” Dr. Tello-Skjerseth said. “To me, it means donating your time, energy and money, if possible, back to the community and to the people who helped shape who you are.” Contributing to Sanford Health was an easy decision, too. Many Tello family members have worked in the health system in Bismarck in the last 60 years. “It’s something I’ve always known I wanted to come back be a part of that tradition and legacy,” Dr. Tello-Skjerseth said. For more information about the Builders of Excellence Endowment Campaign and leaving your own legacy on health care, visit Foundation or call the Sanford Health Foundation at (701) 323-8450.

“That just seems so incredibly powerful,” Joyce said. “We can leave a lasting legacy for our mothers, have it matched, plus get this wonderful tax credit from the state of North Dakota. All of those things were great incentives.” An additional incentive, for all of these donors, was giving back to their hometown of Bismarck.

encourage 3

Builders of Excellence Endowment Campaign moves forward With a full year of fundraising completed for the Builders of Excellence Endowment Campaign, friends from across the region continue to step forward to support this important fundraising effort. The goal of the campaign is to raise $10 million to transform the future of health care in our region for generations to come. As of Nov. 5, more than $2.9 million had been raised. The gifts have helped create 50 new named endowments within the Sanford Health Foundation, as well as provide funding for current endowments that support the Dakota Children’s Advocacy Center,Emergency and Trauma Services, Hospice, General Fund and the five Centers of Excellence - Cancer, Children’s, Heart, Orthopedics & Sports Medicine and Women’s. Some special incentives are helping encourage donors to act quickly. With $10 million in matching funds available, the Foundation is able to match each donation dollar-for-dollar, thus doubling each gifts size and impact. In addition, the state of North Dakota is offering special tax motivation. With a minimum gift of $5,000 annually to a charitable, permanent endowment within the state, taxpayers will receive a 40 percent state income tax credit. Below are examples of gifts to a qualified permanent endowment, with the dollar-for-dollar match and the 40-percent state income tax credit, for a taxpayer in the 28-percent federal tax bracket*: Gift Amount





Matching Dollars





Federal Tax Deduction





N.D. State Income Tax Credit





Net Cost of Gift





Total Amount in Fund





*We encourage donors to seek tax and legal advice from their professional advisors. We provide this as a hypothetical endowment example.

For more information about the Builders of Excellence Endowment Campaign, please contact the Sanford Health Foundation in Bismarck at (701) 323-8450.

Donors help bring advanced breast cancer screenings to Bismarck Mammography is the only approved breast-screening method, however, dense breast tissue and tumors both appear as solid white on a mammogram and make it difficult for radiologists to decipher between them. Manual ultrasounds and MRIs are capable of imaging abnormal anatomical features in dense breast tissue, but technicians must perform the ultrasound and MRIs are an expensive, timeconsuming procedure.

Inventor Dr. Mark Stribling’s wife inspired him to create one of the newest breast examining technologies on the market today – the SOFIA Automated Breast Tomography system, a uniquely designed exam table used to screen for breast cancer. Teresa Stribling is a high-risk patient with a family history of breast cancer and dense breast tissue, meaning there is more connective tissue than fatty tissue. Dr. Stribling, President and CEO of iVu Imaging Corporation, said his wife would get a traditional mammogram every year and then always receive a letter to schedule a second visit, followed by a diagnostic mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy. “It was such a mess,” he said. “The impact on women going through this process is devastating, because immediately they think they have cancer.” The SOFIA Automated Breast Tomography system is designed to be more comfortable for women. Patients lie in the prone position and the breast is gently compressed by a woman’s torso

just as if she were sleeping. Using sound waves instead of radiation, the system takes five minutes to capture tomographic images of each breast. Radiologists process the two-dimensional pictures to 3D and multi-planar reconstruction images for visualization and analysis. Women in the Bismarck region now have access to one of only 14 of these systems in the world at Sanford Bismarck.

“The real purpose behind this is for women with dense breast tissue to have an alternative,” Dr. Stribling said. Sanford Bismarck Radiologist Ted Fogarty, MD, said he’s excited to use this state-of-the-art equipment. The system was just installed last month. Within the first two weeks, Dr. Fogarty found suspicious findings on a patient and completed a biopsy for further analysis. “Particularly for the upper west plains region, we are way ahead of the curve,” he said.

Dr. Fogarty said generous donors and the Sanford Health Foundation deserve some credit for helping find breast cancer because they made the purchase of the SOFIA possible. When he’s out in the community, patients often hug him in appreciation for his work, but he knows he’s successful because he has the tools he needs. “Radiologists are kind of behind the scenes, but when we get out and participate in a community outreach event, it’s amazing when someone says, ‘You were the one who found my cancer,’” he said. “It’s kind of humbling, as I am at the end of a long chain of care in finding that cancer. The thoughtful donors and community leaders in our Sanford Foundations deserve a pat on the back too for being at the beginning of that chain.” For more information about the Sanford Health Foundation or to make a gift, visit Bismarck. or call the Sanford Health Foundation at (701) 323-8450.

encourage 5

Savor the Flavor

raises record amount More than 600 guests attended the seventh annual Savor the Flavor: The Grand Chef Show-Off signature event in October. The sold-out fundraiser was one of the most successful Savor the Flavor events ever, raising more than $466,000 for the Bismarck Sanford Children’s Center of Excellence Endowment Fund. “It was an amazing evening filled with delicious food and beverages, wonderful auction packages, an incredible live band and most importantly raising money for Sanford Children’s in Bismarck,” said Tom Petrik, Vice President of Development of the Sanford Health Foundation. Chefs from 16 local restaurants competed in The Grand Chef Show-Off competition while guests bid on more than 100 live and silent auction items. Petrik said, in addition to the auctions, the sponsorships, an increase in ticket sales, FundA-Need pledge challenge

and matching funds from the current Builders of Excellence Endowment Campaign all contributed to the three-fold increase in funds raised. The Children’s Center of Excellence Endowment Fund provides permanent, ongoing support for Sanford Children’s departments in the Bismarck region and ensures future funding for new technology and specialized equipment purchases, expansion of existing programs and the creation of new ones. Sick and injured children from across the Bismarck region receive care and use the services at Sanford Children’s, such as 8-year-old Connor Radtke of Bottineau, N.D., who was featured during the Savor the Flavor event. Doctors discovered a tumor in his leg this year and diagnosed him with Langerhans cell histiocytosis, a disorder where the body accumulates too many immature cells that form tumors or damage organs.

Connor Radtke diagnosed with Langerhans cell histiocytosis

Connor needed surgery and chemotherapy from primary care physicians, pediatric surgeons, oncologists and rehabilitation specialists all found at Sanford Children’s in Bismarck, only three hours from their home. His treatment continues today, but his mother, Angela Radtke Hoff, is grateful for the care they receive at Sanford Children’s. “We are very fortunate to have this in Bismarck because we are able to travel in a day,” she said. “To have these services in the community is wonderful.” For more information or to see photos from this year’s Savor the Flavor, visit SavorTheFlavor

Family celebrates daughter’s memory with gift Sonali Seth cared deeply about making a difference in people’s lives, even at an early age. As a 4-year-old she befriended someone with Down Syndrome. In junior high, she volunteered with the Special Olympics and later mentored younger girls while attending all-girls summer camps in Minnesota.

Sonali Seth

After earning undergraduate degrees in neuroscience and chemistry, and a Master’s Degree in Public Health, she entered medical school with the goal of helping others heal.

“She would have been a great doctor,” said her mother, Aruna Seth. But during her third year of medical school, she suffered a traumatic seizure and was diagnosed with brain cancer. Her symptoms became so severe in the last stage of her life that she was unable to communicate, prompting her parents, Aruna and Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Vinod Seth, to seek help from Tracey Lockrem, a Sanford Speech Pathologist.

Lockrem helped the Seths to find and purchase a Tobii Eye Tracking System and then helped train Sonali how to use it. The system’s state-of-the art technology allowed Sonali to communicate with her eyes. Her first words were, “I love you, Dad.” Sonali lost her fight with cancer in February 2012 at just 33 years old. To honor their daughter’s memory and her passion for helping others, the Seths donated the eye tracking system to Sanford Bismarck so other families can communicate in such difficult times. “This technology and equipment will assist us greatly in assessing patients with communication difficulties as a result of ALS, Guillain Barre Syndrome, head injury or brain cancer,” Lockrem

said. “This is a very big deal for our patients and our department.” Sonali truly wanted to help others heal and, in her memory, with her spirit living through her parents’ generosity, others will be given the opportunity to communicate with loved ones. Many donors choose to honor the memory of loved ones or special friends by providing a meaningful tribute or gift through the Sanford Health Foundation to make a difference in others’ lives. For more information about giving in honor or memory of a loved one, visit Bismarck.SanfordHealth. org/Foundation or call the Sanford Health Foundation at (701) 323-8450.

Dr. Vinod and Aruna Seth, Sonali’s parents with Dr. Craig Lambrecht, Sanford Bismarck President

Sanford Health Foundation P.O. Box 5525 715 E. Broadway Ave. Bismarck, ND 58501 (701) 323-8450

The gift of giving During this holiday season, the Sanford Health Foundation staff is grateful for the thoughtful support of donors who have made a difference in the lives of thousands of patients served across the region by Sanford Health over the past year. Generous gifts helped:   • Purchase cutting-edge equipment and technology   • Provide the community with free access to health screenings and information about disease management and prevention   • Improve patient care   • Expand services and programs   • Offer hundreds of medical staff opportunities for advanced training This is only a sampling of the many important things charitable gifts have helped accomplish throughout Sanford Health’s Bismarck region this year. As 2013 comes to a close, if you would like to share your blessings—and make a difference in health care in your region— please visit or call (701) 323-8450.




Winter 2013  

Sanford Health Foundation Bismarck

Winter 2013  

Sanford Health Foundation Bismarck